Puig’s agent: Ex-MLB star felt `rushed’ at probe with feds

Nov 15, 2022, 11:10 PM | Updated: 11:56 pm
FILE - Former baseball outfielder Yasiel Puig of Kiwoom Heroes hits a ball during the opening game ...

FILE - Former baseball outfielder Yasiel Puig of Kiwoom Heroes hits a ball during the opening game of the 2022 regular season for the Korea Baseball Organization in Seoul, April 2, 2022. Authorities Puig will plead guilty to lying to federal agents investigating an illegal sports gambling operation. The U.S. Department of Justice announced Monday, Nov. 14, 2022, that Puig acknowledged in unsealed court documents that he denied betting on the operation when in fact he made hundreds of bets in 2019. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man, File)

(AP Photo/Lee Jin-man, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — Former major league outfielder Yasiel Puig did not have a criminal attorney with him and felt compromised partly because of his mental health issues at an interview with federal agents investigating an illegal gambling operation, according to a statement Tuesday night from his agent.

The U.S. Department of Justice announced Monday that Puig, 31, will plead guilty to lying at that interview. Court documents say he has agreed to plead guilty to one count of making false statements and after doing so could face up to five years in federal prison. He also agreed to pay a fine of at least $55,000.

“The government’s indictment arises out of a single interview he gave back in January via Zoom,” said Puig’s agent, Lisette Carnet of Leona Sports Agency.

“He came to the interview feeling rushed, unprepared, without criminal counsel with him, and also lacked his own interpreter. Given his history growing up in authoritarian Cuba, government interviews are triggering and only worsen his ADHD symptoms and other mental health struggles, for which he is in treatment. He would have benefited from this care at the time of the interview.”

Carnet said Puig’s lawyer, Keri Axel, has also clarified that under the sentencing guidelines he is eligible for probation.

“I want to make clear that many headlines have been completely misleading, with some articles making downright false statements,” Carnet said. “Yasiel Puig has not been charged with illegal gambling, was not a member of a gambling ring, nor did he bet on baseball. He has not been indicted for gambling of any kind on any sport whatsoever nor for any involvement with any illegal gambling. The absolute ‘only conduct at issue is what he said or did not say during an interview’ conducted by IRS and HSI Officials, as described in a statement released by his attorney.

“Yasiel Puig was not the target of the government’s investigation; he was asked by the government to be a witness against the gambling organizers and others.”

Puig batted .277 with 132 home runs and 415 RBIs while appearing in seven major league seasons, the first six with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He earned an All-Star selection with the Dodgers in 2014.

Puig played for Cincinnati and Cleveland in 2019 before becoming a free agent. He then played in the Mexican League and last year signed a one-year, $1 million contact with South Korea’s Kiwoom Heroes.

Carnet said Puig’s legal trouble does not prevent him from playing in the major leagues or abroad “per organization regulations.”

“Puig took responsibility, and this agreement with the government should end this whole unfortunate incident,” Carnet said.

MLB would not investigate unless Puig attempts to sign with a big league organization.

In an August plea agreement, Puig acknowledged that over only a few months in 2019 he wracked up more than $280,000 in losses while wagering on tennis, football and basketball games through a third party who worked for an illegal gambling operation run by Wayne Nix, a former minor league baseball player.

Puig placed at least 900 bets through Nix-controlled betting websites and through a man who worked for Nix, authorities said.

In his plea agreement, Puig acknowledged lying in January to federal investigators who were looking into the business, denying he had placed bets through the operation.

Nix pleaded guilty in April to conspiracy to operate an illegal sports gambling business and filing a false tax return. Prosecutors said Nix’s operation ran for two decades and included both current and former professional athletes as clients or employees.

Federal prosecutors also announced Monday that another former MLB player, Erik Kristian Hiljus, 49, of Los Angeles, had agreed to plead guilty to two counts of subscribing to false tax returns. They said he was an agent for Nix’s operation.

Hiljus was drafted by the New York Mets in 1991 but made his major league debut in 1999 with the Detroit Tigers. He also played for the Oakland Athletics in 2001 and 2002. He pitched 124 innings in four seasons, going 8-3 with a 4.72 career ERA.

Hiljus could face up to six years in federal prison at sentencing.

___

AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

This image released by Neon shows Nan Goldin in 1978, an image used for the documentary "All the Be...
Associated Press

Review: A portrait of an artist in Venice-winning doc

Nan Goldin, the subject of Laura Poitras’ Venice Film Festival-winning documentary ” All the Beauty and the Bloodshed,” is a name you probably either know well or not at all. In the art world, she is unequivocally famous. Her photographs depicting downtown life in the late 1970s and ’80s and the vibrant, glamorous bohemians she […]
9 hours ago
Laborers cheer at a fan festival at the Asian Town cricket stadium in Doha, Qatar, Friday, Nov. 25,...
Associated Press

On outskirts of Doha, laborers watch World Cup they built

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Far from Doha’s luxury hotels and sprawling new World Cup stadiums, scores of South Asian workers poured into a cricket ground in the city’s sandy outskirts to enjoy the tournament they helped create. Unlike the official FIFA fan zone near Doha’s pristine corniche, this one has no $14 beer or foreign […]
9 hours ago
Residents line up for COVID-19 tests in Beijing, Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)...
Associated Press

Xinjiang loosens some restrictions after lockdown protests

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Authorities in China’s western Xinjiang region opened up some neighborhoods in the capital of Urumqi on Saturday after residents held extraordinary late-night demonstrations against the city’s draconian “zero-COVID” lockdown that had lasted more than three months. The displays of public defiance were fanned by anger over a fire in an apartment […]
9 hours ago
FILE - Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a news conference at the Broward County Courthouse i...
Associated Press

New state voter fraud units finding few cases from midterms

WASHINGTON (AP) — State-level law enforcement units created after the 2020 presidential election to investigate voter fraud are looking into scattered complaints more than two weeks after the midterms but have provided no indication of systemic problems. That’s just what election experts had expected and led critics to suggest that the new units were more […]
9 hours ago
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, left, leaves after she announcing her resignation as party chairwoma...
Associated Press

Taiwan president resigns as party leader after election loss

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen resigned as head of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party following local election losses on Saturday in which voters chose the opposition Nationalist party in several major races across the self-ruled island. Concerns about threats from rival China, which claims Taiwan as its territory, took a backseat to […]
9 hours ago
In this picture released by the official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Supre...
Associated Press

Iran leader praises force tasked with quashing protests

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iran’s supreme leader praised paramilitary volunteers tasked with quashing dissent on Saturday in a televised address as dozens of eye doctors warned that a rising number of demonstrators have been blinded by security forces during anti-government protests. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei addressed members of the Basij, the volunteer paramilitary wing of the elite […]
9 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet edges out cable for everyday use

In a world where technology drives so much of our daily lives, a lack of high-speed internet can be a major issue.
...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
...
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
Puig’s agent: Ex-MLB star felt `rushed’ at probe with feds